A federal jury has convicted a former information technology official with the Department of Commerce of conspiracy to pay and receive bribes, and acceptance of bribes by a public official.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Raushi J. Conrad served as the Director of Systems Operation and Security within the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), a branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce. In that position, Conrad was designated to oversee and manage a project whereby computer files were transferred from an old BIS computer network that had been infected by a virus to a new, uninfected network. Conrad was also to ensure that the transferred files were free of viruses and, in some instances, retained the full functionality of the files that had resided on the old network.
“Conrad took bribes in exchange for official acts,” explained Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “The contracting process should be one of integrity and fairness, and this case should send a strong message that public corruption will be vigorously prosecuted.”
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, while serving as the project manager for the data migration project, Conrad solicited and received bribes from James Bedford, a Virginia businessman, in return for steering a lucrative subcontract and contract to perform the data migration work to companies owned in whole or in part by Bedford. One of Bedford’s companies made $208,000 in payments to a restaurant business owned by Conrad, and many of these payments were concealed through false and fictitious invoices created by Conrad. The fake invoices made it appear that Conrad’s restaurant business had performed various services for Bedford’s company, when in fact no such services had ever been provided.
Bedford’s company also arranged for various subcontractors to perform over $7,000 worth of free renovation work at Conrad’s residence.
Bedford has pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 30, 2017.
Conrad faces a maximum of 20 years in prison when sentenced on September 8. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.